Breaking News: Bisexuality AND gay couples exist

This is almost as obvious as the recent study revealing that (gasp!) bisexuality is an actual identity and not a phase; more new research shows that same-sex couples not only can maintain a healthy and committed relationship, but are just as happy and committed as your average heterosexual couple:

The researchers found that all the couples had positive views of their relationships, but the more committed couples (gay or straight) resolved conflict better than the heterosexual dating couples.
The belief that committed same-sex relationships are ‘atypical, psychologically immature, or malevolent contexts of development was not supported by our findings,’ noted lead author Glenn I. Roisman. ‘Compared with married individuals, committed gay males and lesbians were not less satisfied with their relationships.’
Roisman added that gay males and lesbians ‘were generally not different from their committed heterosexual counterparts on how well they interacted with one another, although some evidence emerged the lesbian couples were especially effective at resolving conflict.’

Who woulda thought.

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17 Comments

  1. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I commented on this extensively on the last bisexuality post, but I absolutely 100% think this is very important research.
    Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals face tremendous stigma and hostile prejudice. Facing these issues constantly can cause stress and strain on relationships. This not only can lead to poorer relationships, less commitment, and relationship dissolution. Further, stressful relationships can also lead to poorer health.
    It is therefore very important to study and understand whether gay and lesbian couples are experiencing these negative factors and lower relationship satisfaction. If they aren’t, what factors are buffering against these known outside stresses that we can learn from and use to help couples who don’t have those protective factors?
    Soo… any chance on a call for unnecessary snark on the research studies? (p.s., I hope this doesn’t come across as confrontational – I think your posts are great and I know part of what you are referring to is that is should somehow be “news” than lesbian/gay relationships are, gasp, “normal”. But I’m just seeing a pattern here the past few months of studies that I think are useful and good getting the reflex snark treatment).

  2. annajcook
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    The belief that committed same-sex relationships are ‘atypical, psychologically immature, or malevolent . . .’
    I think it’s freaky that the researchers actually felt the need to enumerate these assumptions about non-hetero couples. I mean, “immature”? “malevolent”? What the hell?
    I’d agree with you UCLA, to the extent that sound social science research can be an incredibly powerful tool for combating stigma and even egregious malpractice. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the lack of science-based maternity care, which is slightly different, but still makes the point that what PROGRESSIVES want policy-wise and in their own lives is actually most often HEALTHIER. So we have nothing to lose, really, from supporting sound research in these areas (as opposed to the pop-psychology drivel).

  3. aspendarlin
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    My first reaction: Yaye, now my girlfriend and I have a reason to exist!
    My second reaction: I hope this will be used to better public policy.

  4. Ayla
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    You know what’s weird? I currently and in the past have had many homosexual and bisexual friends, co-workers and acquaintances, but now in my mid-20s, all of the bisexual people I knew in the past no longer self identify that way. Not a single one. They’re homo/hetero but not bi
    My (self-identified homosexual) best friend has dated guys over the years who were recently coming out of the closet and self identified as bisexual only to later self-identify as homosexual. He has dubbed these guys “transitional bisexuals” (but certainly with no malice or judgment)
    I’ve always wondered if perhaps people who switch up their self ID, especially going from a coming out experience to bi and later to homosexual, always truly “felt” homosexual, but were (rightfully, in most cases) afraid of repercussions of coming out “all at once.” It sounds kind of silly when I say it that way though…And certainly I’m not trying to take away someone’s right to self-identify.

  5. Kimmy
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Ayla, from another angle. I’ve known lots of people who identified as bisexual over the years. There’s only one I’m still in touch with that I’ve known for any length of time (twelve years). And he still identifies as bisexual. So there’s at least one anecdote of someone who took it as a more or less permanant identity.

  6. Ayla
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Kimmy, I know there are tons of people who are bisexual “forever.” My best friend and I were both talking just the other day about how odd it is that neither of us know any now that we’re a bit older. I’ve been curious about it but there’s only one person I had the chance to politely ask about it. He agreed that, for him, bisexuality was a cover and he never actually felt any attraction to women. I’ve always wondered how many other people go through a similar experience when coming out.

  7. soisaystomabel
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Ayla- you make a good point. Yes, bisexuality DOES exist (duh) but it is also a very commonly used “transitional orientation.” I now identify as a lesbian and have for several years but when I was a teenager I identified as bisexual, and legitimately believed I was. Once at college I realized that I was a big dyke and that it was pretty obvious. I never overthought my bisexuality becasue the way the media portrays it, I figured all ladies were bi and I’d “get it out of my system” at college. Ha, yes, naive I was.

  8. soisaystomabel
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Ayla- you make a good point. Yes, bisexuality DOES exist (duh) but it is also a very commonly used “transitional orientation.” I now identify as a lesbian and have for several years but when I was a teenager I identified as bisexual, and legitimately believed I was. Once at college I realized that I was a big dyke and that it was pretty obvious. I never overthought my bisexuality becasue the way the media portrays it, I figured all ladies were bi and I’d “get it out of my system” at college. Ha, yes, naive I was.

  9. Yoshimi
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I took a human sexuality and culture class a few semesters ago, and I think my texbook said that commited lesbian couples were statistically the most sexually and emotionally satisfied.
    UCLAbodyimage: I don’t see the snark as directed to the studies themselves, rather to the mainstream ideas of gender and sexuality.

  10. Yoshimi
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I took a human sexuality and culture class a few semesters ago, and I think my texbook said that commited lesbian couples were statistically the most sexually and emotionally satisfied.
    UCLAbodyimage: I don’t see the snark as directed at the studies themselves, rather to the mainstream ideas of gender and sexuality.

  11. Yoshimi
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I took a human sexuality and culture class a few semesters ago, and I think my texbook said that commited lesbian couples were statistically the most sexually and emotionally satisfied.
    UCLAbodyimage: I don’t see the snark as directed at the studies themselves, rather to the mainstream ideas of gender and sexuality.

  12. werechick
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    I remember hearing on This American Life about a study in married couples that was later extended to include gay LTRs. The whole thing was about what made some marriages last and others fail within a few years. The strategies they observed in successful straight pairs were found in abundance in gay pairs, in fact, even more often than in straights.
    Homophobia does create a selection bias, of course. Poor matches break more easily under heavier pressure, never making it to the LTR qualifier. (Nevermind that many marriages wouldnn’t be considered “LTRs” based on their own merit without the piece of paper)

  13. werechick
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    I remember hearing on This American Life about a study in married couples that was later extended to include gay LTRs. The whole thing was about what made some marriages last and others fail within a few years. The strategies they observed in successful straight pairs were found in abundance in gay pairs, in fact, even more often than in straights.
    Homophobia does create a selection bias, of course. Poor matches break more easily under heavier pressure, never making it to the LTR qualifier. (Nevermind that many marriages wouldnn’t be considered “LTRs” based on their own merit without the piece of paper)

  14. werechick
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I remember hearing on This American Life about a study in married couples that was later extended to include gay LTRs. The whole thing was about what made some marriages last and others fail within a few years. The strategies they observed in successful straight pairs were found in abundance in gay pairs, in fact, even more often than in straights.
    Homophobia does create a selection bias, of course. Poor matches break more easily under heavier pressure, never making it to the LTR qualifier. (Nevermind that many marriages wouldnn’t be considered “LTRs” based on their own merit without the piece of paper)

  15. LlesbianLlama
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    As “DUH!” as all this stuff is, it’s pretty awesome to see the publicity that these studies get. While it might be totally obvious to me that my girlfriend and I are not unstable freaks, it really seems to escape the notice of the people around us.
    This study reminds me of an amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court by the American Psychological Association. The CA Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case regarding marriage equality in CA, and the APA [and 29 other organizations] stepped up to tell the court that gay people are [GASP!] normal, committed, and equivalent to heterosexual couples in essential respects. They also say that denial of marriage benefits is hugely negative, and outline how same sex couples can be excellent parents! The APA’s come a looooong way since 1973. :)
    Sorry if this is too much of a threadjack- the concept was so similar I couldn’t help chiming in.

  16. annajcook
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I remember hearing on This American Life about a study in married couples that was later extended to include gay LTRs.
    If anyone’s interested, the episode can be found on the TAL website. It’s program #261, “The Sanctity of Marriage” and originally aired 4/1/2005. It also has a hilarious piece of satire by Adam Felber on how legalizing same-sex marriage will ruin his relationship with his wife :) .

  17. GamesOnline
    Posted November 8, 2009 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Homophobia does create a selection bias, of course. Poor matches break more easily under heavier pressure, never making it to the LTR qualifier.free online games

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